Saturday, March 20, 2010

On the vernal equiniox

It's the first day of spring, the vernal equinox which marks the point when night and day are of equal length. I'm less concerned with the scientific explanation and more with containing the thrill I feel in the earth's stirring after such a bitter winter. Long days, warm soil, new growth, fresh green again.

Monty Don (praise him) writes in his Ivington Diaries of March 21st:
'Today is the best day of the year. There is no other calendar day that is such a cast-iron, sure-fire cert to raise the spirits. Christmas and birthdays pale into anticlimatic insignificance. It doesn't matter what the weather is like or what actually happens, the gift of an extra hour's ligth at the end of the day is a prize beyound price. todya stands like a see-saw in the calendar, balanced exactly on the fulcrum of night and day, and then tomorrow gently tips towards the light, spilling the days down into sunshine.'

Absolutely. I know we've a way to go yet - especially up here in the small mountain kingdom of Trelystan where it is acknowledged that it is generally an overcoat colder than in the valleys below. But there is a subtle change; the air smells different - to me it smells green. Is this possible?

So while we're waiting let's get our tongues around Gerard Manley Hopkins' most excellent poem.

 Spring - Gerard Manley Hopkins
Nothing is so beautiful as spring—
When weeds, in wheels, shoot long and lovely and lush;
Thrush's eggs look little low heavens, and thrush
Through the echoing timber does so rinse and wring
The ear, it strikes like lightnings to hear him sing;
The glassy peartree leaves and blooms, they brush
The descending blue; that blue is all in a rush
With richness; the racing lambs too have fair their fling.
What is all this juice and all this joy?
A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning
In Eden garden.—Have, get, before it cloy,
Before it cloud, Christ, lord, and sour with sinning,
Innocent mind and Mayday in girl and boy,
Most, O maid's child, thy choice and worthy the winning. 


Wipso said...

I have to agree with you. This is the best time of the year by far.
A x

rachel said...

I wish I could apply the joyousness of GMH's poem to my rather dismal view from a rain-splashed window today. Wet roofs, wet pavements, wet cars; no lambs or pear trees.

The vernal equinox is indeed a wonderful event, but it's so gloomy out of doors today that I shall have to take it on trust.

rachel said...

Oops, what a misery-guts I sounded there - of course I rejoice in the coming of Spring, I do!

Pondside said...

The poem could have been written for today - glorious here!
Yesterday I had a few hours of weeding - strangely satisfying - and as I weeded I listened to the singing of the newly returned birds. It was a treat.

mollygolver said...

That's a lovely poem! Good old Monty waxes lyrical too - love that bit about 'gently tipping towards the light' Your pictures say it all!

SmitoniusAndSonata said...

Thankyou for the poem !!

Friko said...

you have daffodils in bloom ? Never.
Mine are barely yellowing up around the tips.

Diary Farmer said...

To add to your excitement, curlews have been spotted (4 to be exact) down here in the valley. A true indication that Spring is indeed on its way! We're now counting down the days when the Herefords can grace the pastures of Marton!

hand-knitted muesli said...

and where I am it's Autumn

Cathy said...

Oh how I agree with Monty Don's writing and relish the thought of Spring and all that comes after it but its Autumn here now and today is certainly not the best day of the year as far as I'm concerned lol
Shorter days and a time change along with cooler even cold days and nights ahead - yuk - but then theres the good thought that it might rain sometime - hopefully not as much as up north where parts are flooded and other parts dealing with a cyclone at the moment

elizabethm said...

I read the Monty Don extract a few days ago as I read my way through Ivington Diaries. One of the best bits, I thought.
My daffodils are just thinking about coming out.